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Altus II aircraft flying over southern California desert The remotely-piloted Altus II aircraft flying over the California desert.

Photo Number: EC98-44684-1
Photo Date: 29 Jun 1998

Formats: 515x480 JPEG Image (105 KBytes)
1099x1024 JPEG Image (454 KBytes)
3000x2793 JPEG Image (4,013 KBytes)

Photo
Description:
The San Gabriel range is visible as the remotely piloted Altus II flies over Southern California’s high desert.

Project
Description:
The Altus II was flown as a performance and propulsion testbed for future high-altitude science platform aircraft under NASA’s Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The rear-engined Altus II and its sister ship, the Altus I, were built by General Atomics/Aeronautical Systems, Inc., of San Diego, Calif. They are designed for high-altitude, long-duration scientific sampling missions, and are powered by turbocharged piston engines. The Altus I, built for the Naval Postgraduate School, reached over 43,500 feet with a single-stage turbocharger feeding its four-cylinder Rotax engine in 1997, while the Altus II, incorporating a two-stage turbocharger built by Thermo-Mechanical Systems, reached and sustained an altitude of 55,000 feet for four hours in 1999. A pilot in a control station on the ground flies the craft by radio signals, using visual cues from a video camera in the nose of the Altus and information from the craft's air data system.

NASA Photo by: General Atomics

Keywords: Altus II; ERAST; Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology; General Atomics; turbocharger; two-stage; Thermo-Mechanical Systems


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